RECENT soaring temperatures of 34°C-plus mean that Umvoti's hottest month, February, could more than usual live up to its name.
Last year has been declared the hottest year throughout the world since modern records were started in 1880. It is predicted that the trend will continue.
Climate change expert at WWF, Jaco du Toit said that accompanying this South Africa had experienced its worst drought in recorded history.
He believes that with more heat in the atmosphere South Africa is likely to see more variable and extreme rainfall, leading to droughts, interspersed with heavy rains and flash flooding.
There are ways of staying cool during the day:
• Shut windows and pull down the shades - open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler.
• Avoid the heat - stay out of the sun and don't go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you're vulnerable to the effects of heat.
• Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside the windows.
If this isn't possible, use light-coloured curtains and keep them closed (metallic blinds and dark curtains can make the room hotter).
• Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
• Drink cool drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
• Identify the coolest room in the house so you know where to go to keep cool.
Trying to fall asleep on a hot summer night can be a problem, especially without an air conditioner. But remember in those good old days grandpa and grandma worked to stay cool without such gadgets.
• Fill winter's hot water bottle with cold water and stick it in the freezer for a cooling ice pack. Granted, this won't keep you cool all night, but it will provide a brief respite from heat and humidity.
• Point box fans out windows so they push hot air out and adjust ceiling fan settings so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of just twirling it around the room
• Make a DIY air conditioner by placing a shallow pan or bowl (a roasting pan works well) full of ice in front of a fan.
• To chill out super-fast, apply ice packs to pulse points at the wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles, and behind the knees.
• Rinsing off under a shower stream of tepid water brings down the core body temperature so you can hit the hay feeling cool and clean.
• Cool down a whole room by hanging a wet sheet in front of an open window. The breeze blowing in will quickly bring down the room's temperature.
• Cool down the body by dunking feet in cold water.
• Sleeping with arms and legs stretched is best for reducing body heat and letting air circulate around the body.
• Make your own cool pad - fill a sock with rice, tie it off, and stick it in the freezer for an hour or so - it will stay chilly for up to 30 minutes.